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Recent Highlights

The American Council on Germany holds policy discussions in New York City, across the United States, and in Germany on an ongoing basis.

“Efforts at the UN and in Germany to Promote Gender Equity in a Changing Work Environment”
On a snowy March 14, the ACG and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung hosted a breakfast briefing with Bundestag Member Ursula Groden-Kranich (CDU). Ms. Groden-Kranich discussed the steps that Germany is taking in order to close the gender pay gap. Read more about the discussion
here

“Germany in the Super Election Year 2017: Implications for Germany’s Standing in Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship”
On February 27, the ACG hosted a discussion and luncheon with Dr. Jürgen Rüttgers, former Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia and former Federal Minister for Education, Science, Research, and Technology. Dr. Rüttgers discussed the  challenges  facing  Europe during the “Super Election Year.” While he  did  not  make  specific  predictions regarding the outcome of the German election in September, he did note the presence of forces similar to those which influenced the U.S. election in 2016. He highlighted the populist disenchantment with political elites.

Munich Security Conference
The ACG partnered with the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) to host a breakfast briefing as an official side event at the Munich Security Conference. General David Petraeus and Bundestag member Dr. Norbert Röttgen  (CDU) kicked off a lively discussion on the challenges facing the transatlantic partnership.

During the the discussion – which included German politicians as well as journalists, academics, and other foreign policy experts from both sides of the Atlantic – the group focused on the common challenges posed by powers such as Russia, China, and North Korea as well as non-state actors and Islamic extremists. They also talked about cyber security, the rise of populism, and  elections. There was consensus that complexity and uncertainty are the hallmarks of today’s world order and that the internal fragility of the transatlantic alliance can contribute to the destabilization of society.

Participants agreed that the transatlantic partnership cannot be taken for granted. It must be maintained.  While many of the attendees at the ACG-AICGS event agreed with the messages delivered by Vice President Pence and Defense Secretary Mattis at the MSC, they questioned how to reconcile those messages of support for NATO and a common security framework with the statements of President Trump.

“The Euro Area: The Current Economic Situation and the Ongoing Need for Institutional Reforms”
On February 9, Dr. Johannes Beermann, a Member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Bundesbank, discussed past, present, and future economic, fiscal, and monetary policy in the eurozone. More than 20 members and friends of the American Council on Germany braved the wintry weather to hear his insights at a discussion and reception hosted by Dentons US LLP.

“Governing in Uncertain Times: New Leadership in the United States and at the United Nations”
On January 25, 2017, the ACG hosted a discussion and luncheon with Ambassador Harald Braun, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations. Some 45 friends and members of the ACG gathered to hear Amb Braun discuss the changing political atmosphere in the EU and the U.S. and what it means for transatlantic relations. Amb. Braun noted that though there has been some skepticism towards to the United Nations from the Trump administration, he was looking forward to working with Nikki Haley as she takes over as the United States Ambassador to the UN.

“Is TTIP Dead? The Future of Transatlantic Trade”
As the first event of the year, on January 12, 2017, the ACG and Cultural Vistas hosted a Political Salon with WirtschaftsWoche journalist, Simon Book. Mr. Book gave insights of the history of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and shared his views about the likelihood of a trade agreement being reached under the Trump administration. Though it may be unlikely for TTIP to be approved, Mr. Book does think it is possible that the Trump administration will try to reach bilateral trade agreements.

“After Brexit, U.S. Elections, and Italy’s Referendum: Germany’s Role in Europe”
On December 19, 2016, Bundestag Member Peter Beyer (CDU) briefed members about the challenges facing Europe and Germany’s leading role in meeting those challenges at a luncheon hosted by NORD/LB. After the discussion, Mr. Beyer participated in a podcast with Dr. Steven E. Sokol. Listen to the podcast here.

“The Future of Multilateralism: A View from the UN”
At the final Transatlantic Global Agenda event of the year, Germany’s outgoing Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Heiko Thoms, discussed the international order and the importance of multilateral organizations. He expressed concern about a potential vacuum that may emerge if the United States reduces its international engagement.

“Germany’s Leadership Role in the ‘New’ Europe”
Nearly 100 people attended a luncheon hosted by the ACG and sponsored by vbw and bayme vbm with Dr. Theo Waigel, former Federal Minister of Finance, on November 21, 2016. Covering a wide range of topics, Dr. Waigel painted a positive picture of Germany’s leadership role within Europe, the importance of a strong transatlantic partnership with the United States, and the success of the European project. He noted that during his time as Finance Minister, he faced great skepticism toward the EU and the euro. But he believes that without the single euro currency, the EU, in particular Germany, would not have been able to survive and recover from the recession of 2008.

“Meeting Today’s Global Challenges: Europe and the United States in Turbulent Times”
On November 11, 2016, more than 50 friends and members of the American Council on Germany gathered at a luncheon sponsored by Noerr LLP to hear from Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations. Just days after the U.S. election, he stated that globalization has introduced a new complexity to global governance, domestic issues, and foreign policy, because it is becoming difficult to separate them from each other. The Ambassador sees 2017 as the start of a new era and said the West should continue to be assertive in defending its values.

“Rising Russia: How to Deal with President Putin and His New Russia”
On October 21, 2016, the ACG and American Friends of Bucerius hosted a luncheon with Katja Gloger, Editor-at-Large of Stern magazine. Ms. Gloger, who has covered Russia for more than 25 years, gave thought-provoking insights on contemporary Russia, the mindset of Vladimir Putin, and how the West can cope with the “New Russia.” She noted that Russia is on its way to being a global power again and argued that we are already at the start of a new “Cold War.” This discussion was part of the 2016 Transatlantic Global Agenda Series.

“America and the World: What the U.S. Election Means for Foreign Policy”
More than 60 people joined the American Council on Germany, Cultural Vistas, and the German Consulate General of New York on October 20, 2016 for a panel discussion on the U.S. election and what it means for foreign affairs. The speakers were Christopher Caldwell, Senior Editor for The Weekly Standard, and Georg Mascolo, Head of the Joint Investigative Group of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR, and WDR. The engaging conversation highlighted the foreign policy positions of the presidential candidates, as well as perspectives on globalization, trade, and immigration.

“Going Digital: Industry 4.0 in Germany”
On October 11, 2016, the ACG held a discussion and luncheon for corporate members and other close friends with Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, on the global digital economy and Industry 4.0 in Germany. Commissioner Oettinger spoke openly about both the challenges and the great potential of the digital economy and globalization. Technology and innovation may have given rise to populism and nationalism, but the “digital revolution” has great potential.

“The Transatlantic Partnership in an Age of Terrorism and Tectonic Shifts”
More than 80 members and friends of the American Council on Germany gathered at a luncheon sponsored by DZ BANK AG to hear from General Michael V. Hayden, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and former Director of the National Security Agency, on September 7, 2016. General Hayden said that although the United States and Europe are “like-minded” on many issues, there are fundamental differences around the use of force and privacy – and that this gap is widening. Differences notwithstanding, he said that countries should be guided not only by what is in their national interest, but also by what is in the interest of the greater good. In that regard, Germany’s actions under Chancellor Merkel regarding the euro and the refugee crisis may not be in the country’s best interest in the near term, but they are for the good of the regional and global order.